Hialeah Gardens teen praised after resuscitating fellow student’s father

HIALEAH GARDENS, FLA. (WSVN) - A South Florida teen is being hailed a hero after he put his CPR training to use in order to save the father of a fellow student.

Randy Rodriguez, a student at Mater Academy in Hialeah Gardens, said he had taken a CPR course because Miami-Dade Public Schools offered it at his school, and he needed it for a summer job as a lifeguard.

He never thought this very class would help him save a life.

“I didn’t really think about what I was going to do. I just did it,” said Rodriguez.

The teen said he was walking home from school, Tuesday afternoon, when he spotted a man in distress in the middle of Northwest 103rd Street.

“I happened to see a car with the passenger door open. As I got closer, I saw a large gentleman, and he was laying on his car, and he wasn’t moving,” he said.

Rodriguez soon discovered the man was not breathing.

“First, I thought he was having a stroke by the way his face was,” he said. “His eyes were wide open, and his whole face was purple.”

The student quickly got to work attempting to resuscitate the victim. First, he laid the man down on the street.

“I checked for a pulse, and he didn’t have one, so that pretty much means that his heart stopped,” he said,

Rodriguez then started chest compressions.

“I didn’t think he was going to make it, to be honest,” he said.

But the teen did not give up. With paramedics still on the way, he remained calm and pressed on.

“He started coming about, and by the time that happened, the paramedics were there, and they took over from there,” he said.

Rodriguez said he took the CPR course when he was just a freshman.

His teacher, Elsa Lopez, said Rodriguez was her star student.

“I’ve been certified as an instructor for six years, and this is the first time that one of our students actually puts it into effect,” she said. “He was actually one of my number one students.”

This week, her student went from a lifeguard to a life saver.

“I’ve been extremely proud today. I’m, like, on cloud nine,” said Lopez. “It’s a weird feeling to know that something so simple can make such a big difference in somebody else’s life.”

“I got certified thinking, ‘I’m just kind of doing this for a job. Never going to use it,’ and then it actually happened,” said Rodriguez. “It’s just, like, wow.”

Rodriguez later found out the man he saved was picking up his daughter, a fellow student at Mater Academy.

Wednesday morning, Rodriguez said, he caught up with her, and she told him her father remains in the hospital but is alive thanks to his bravery.

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